At Close Range and The Johnston Gang

Welcome to Freaky Friday.  Some time back, Pam Hawley expressed an interest in running one of my true crime posts on her blog.  I wrote a post on the Johnston Gang and the movie At Close Range and posted it on Pam’s blog.  With Pam’s blessing, I am re-running that post here today.

The 1986 movie At Close Range was based on the crimes of The Johnston Gang. Haven’t seen At Close Range? That’s okay. I’ll tell you all about it. Get your coffee and your pop tarts and pull up a chair.

At Close Range stars Sean Penn as Brad Whitewood, Jr. and Christopher Walken as Brad Whitewood, Sr.  Brad, Sr.  hasn’t been in Brad, Jr.’s life much, but it’s well known that he’s a criminal. When Brad, Sr. takes an interest in his son, Brad, Jr. can’t help but get pulled into a world of casual illegal activity.

The problem? Brad, Jr. has met the love his life–a high school-aged girl named Terry. Terry and Brad, Jr. need money, so Brad, Jr. starts pulling jobs for his father. He even starts a kiddie outlaw gang with his half-brother and some buddies. Eventually, Brad, Jr. gets pinched and goes to jail.

Worried his son will rat him out, Brad, Sr. rapes Terry as a warning to Brad, Jr. The rape has the opposite effect. Brad, Jr. informs against Brad, Sr.. Brad, Jr.’s turning snitch ignites a wave of murder and mayhem that ends with an assassination attempt on Brad, Jr. Terry–the teenage girlfriend–is killed in this attack.  The final scene of the movie shows Brad, Jr. testifying against his father.

Here’s the trailer:

“Wait a minute!” you scream. “Why did you tell me the whole plot of the movie?”

Well, I was going to have to tell you all this stuff anyway to get you to understand what kind of man Bruce Johnston, Sr. was.

[Note: Bruce Johnston, Sr. was renamed Brad Whitewood, Sr. in At Close Range. He was the character played by Christopher Walken.]

See, Bruce Johnston, Sr. and his brothers, David and Norman, stole stuff. They stole farm equipment, antiques, cars…marijuana.

Most of their thefts took place in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania; however, they were known to cross into Lancaster County as well.   Their criminal run went from 1960 to 1978.

In 1977, Bruce Jr. started the kiddie gang with his father’s blessing.  They stole lawn equipment, cigarettes, drugs, and cars for Bruce, Sr. to part out.  Bruce, Jr. eventually went to prison for petty crimes in 1977.

While Bruce, Jr. was in prison, Bruce, Sr. raped Robin Miller to send a message to Bruce Jr.  Sound familiar?  Bruce, Jr. was, of course, furious.  He’d been planning to marry his fifteen-year-old girlfriend.  He agreed to testify against his father in court.

When the Johnston Gang realized they were about to go to jail, they started shutting mouths–permanently.   Bruce, Sr. put out  a contract on Bruce, Jr.’s life.

Bruce, Jr.’s half-brother, James Johnston, was also a member of the kiddie gang.  James used the Johnston name even though he wasn’t Bruce, Sr.’s child.

Bruce, Jr.’s half-brother, James Johnston, was also a member of the kiddie gang.  James used the Johnston name even though he wasn’t Bruce, Sr.’s child.

In August of 1977, James Johnston and three other members of the kiddie gang were taken to a field in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania.  They were executed and buried in a common grave.

A few days later, another kiddie gang member insisted on knowing what happened to James and his friends.  He was killed and dumped in a landfill.  His body was never found.

The value of the contract on Bruce, Jr.’s life had gone up to $15,000. He was in federal witness protection but had signed himself out of the program to be with his girlfriend, Robin. On the night of August 30, 1977, David and Norman Johnston tried to cash in.

Bruce, Jr. and Robin had spent the day at Hershey Park. It was late when they returned to Robin’s home. They sat in the darkened Volkswagon Rabbit while Robin gathered her things.

Shadowy figures surrounded the car and began firing guns. Norman Johnston was quoted as saying,

“We filled the car full of holes. It was just like Bonnie and Clyde.”

Bruce, Jr. was hit eight times. Robin was hit twice. She ran into the house and died of her injuries. Bruce, Jr. called the ambulance for both of them. He survived his injuries and testified against his fathers and uncles.

Bruce, Sr. received six life sentences.  His brothers, David and Norman, received for life sentences each.

On August 1, 1999, Norman Johnston escaped prison.  He was recaptured on August 23, 1999.

Bruce Johnston, Sr.  died of liver problems in prison on August 7, 2002.  David Johnston is still in prison.

The Johnston Brothers are believed to have been involved in more murders than just the ones for which they were convicted.

Fun factoid:  At the time At Close Range was filmed, Sean Penn (who played Bruce Johnston, Jr./Brad Whitewood, Jr.) was married to Madonna.  Her song “Live to Tell” was featured in At Close Range.  I’ve read both that the song was recorded specifically to be featured in At Close Range and that was intended to be used in Fire with Fire (in which it ended up not being used).

Thank you for your interest in this article. I often receive requests for further information on these articles. Please understand my knowledge of this topic is limited to what you’ve read in this article. I have no plans to update or expand these articles. I am currently focusing on my fiction writing career and am no longer writing or researching for non-fiction articles. If you’re interested in seeing what I write, please check out the My Fiction page on this website or visit my Amazon Author Page on amazon.com. 

51 thoughts on “At Close Range and The Johnston Gang

  1. How crazy were these men! I’m glad that Jr. survived and was able to testify against his father.

    As to a great movie based on a true crime, I’ve always been fascinated that Alfred Hitchcock’s film ROPE was based on a play which was based on the true crime of Leopold and Loeb — two university students who killed someone solely for the purpose of committing the “perfect crime.” *shudder*

    • Fascinating! I never knew that about Rope. I am not even sure I’ve seen Rope, though I’ve watched Psycho, North by Northwest, Vertigo, and Rebecca quite a few times. Now you’ve given me a research topic. I’ll be Rope-ing it and Hitchcock-ing it for the foreseeable future.

      I don’t know if you’ve ever seen A Place in the Sun with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, but it’s one of my favorite movies. Imagine my squee when I learned it was based on a true crime. ;)

      • I guess we’re trading! I haven’t seen A Place in the Sun, though I have wanted to. Now I know what to watch. :)

        Hope you like Rope. Hitchcock, James Stewart & a fascinating crime.

  2. The movie sounds really familiar. I had no idea that it was based on a true story. There are so many sick people in this world…

    • I agree with you about there being tons of sick people in the world. The striking part of this story (to me) is that a father would treat his son that way. Wow, you know what I mean?

      • That is what is so sick and perverted about it. We live such Leave it to Beaver lives in comparison!

  3. I can’t believe I never saw this movie! I was raising kids at the time, but still.
    What a group, whew!
    Thanks for the true life drama.

    • Oh, Sandy! You need to see it. I am pretty sure it is either on Netflix streaming or Dish Network streaming. It’s a great crime drama even if you aren’t interested in the true crime aspect of it.

  4. I remember seeing this movie in my early 20′s. It was like watching a train wreck where you hope all the passengers die. The saddest part of the whole torrid affair was poor Robin, she went through hell for love and died for it – one should never have to face that choice between their love and death, but it is a sad fact of the human world.

    Thanks for sharing this with us, Catie.

    • What both shocked and saddened me about Robin was how very, very young she was. The fact that she never got to be any older because of her teenage love interest has a great deal of tragedy to it. We all made decisions as teenagers that we probably would not make now.

      Glad you enjoyed the post, Gene. Thanks for commenting. :D

  5. Thanks for bringing this back Catie. This is probably my favorite movie of all-time. Penn and Walken should have won Oscars for their work in this movie. What’s even more interesting is that people who knew the members of the Johnston Gang say that they were even more interesting and compelling in real life. I recently started a yahoo groups page about the Johnston Gang if anyone is interested in joining. I would like to hear the stories of people who really knew them. Bruce Mowday’s book is interesting, but it tells the story only from the perspective of the investigators. I would love to see a new book written that tells us more about the members of the gang and their mindset, motives, ect. It was also be nice to see a History Channel Gangland or Crime Inc. documentary done on the Johnstons. Here’s the Johnston Gang page I created for anyone to join:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BruceJohnstonGang/

    Doing some research I found out that Bruce Jr. has recently been arrested for theft in approximately the same area. Apparently he left the witness protection program about 10 years after the trial and returned to his old stomping grounds. Here is the post in the Lancaster newspaper. Christiana is only about a 20-30 min drive from West Chester County, PA….MARTIC TWP.: Bruce Alfred Johnston Jr., 53, of Christiana, was charged Dec. 20 at home when he was found to have a Garmin GPS that was stolen from a Kennett Square resident.

    Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/557894_POLICE-LOG–December-27–2011.html#ixzz1tG4NOk9M

    • Hillis, thanks for all three of these wonderful comments. (I’m only going to reply once; hope that is okay.) I’m going to have to go through all this stuff carefully because I’m terribly interested in it.

      Like you, I sincerely wish a true crime writer wanted to do a book that centered more on the gang and what they were like. This is an extremely interesting case because of the family dynamic and the betrayal that went along with that.

      I had heard Bruce Jr. has been in and out of jail throughout his adult life. Thanks so much for sharing the article about his recent arrest.

      Thanks again for stopping by. It’s wonderful to see a new face, especially someone who shares my interest in the Johnston Gang. :D

      • Thanks for the response Catie. A while back I posted on Topix in every location within a 50 square mile radius trying to find new info about the Johnston’s and I got a few good interesting tidbits from people who knew the members of the gang. One gentlemen told me that he used to live near David and Norman…knew them well and actually thought they were good people..haha. One thing I could never find is any pics of Robin Miller or Bruce Jr. Bruce Mowday told me that he knew of many that were in the newspapers during the trial and one lady that grew up with Robin remembered seeing her school yearbook pic, but I think the pics may have been removed when Bruce Jr. was in the witness protection program. There was also supposed to be pics of them in a Time Magazine article “It was Pennsylvania Gothic”. I even subscribed to Time but the pics are not in the online article. If anyone has any pics of Robin Miller and Bruce JR. please share. Have you ever thought about writing a book about them Catie? I was told from the Topix info that a lot of people are still around that knew them well, but there may a window of opportunity of maybe 5-10 years before most of them aren’t around anymore. by the way I have mentioned Bruce Johnston Jr. to Bruce Mowday on his FB group page for his book “Jailing the Johnston Gang” several times asking questions about him and he has never said a word about him or acknowledged any of those questions even though Bruce Jr. is still living in that area. Here is a very interesting blog writing by Zane Campbell about Norman Johnston’s escape. Zane lived near them and understood them.

        http://campbellstories.com/storytellers/zane-campbell/writings/the-search-for-norman-johnston/

        • When I first wrote this article for Pam Hawley’s blog, I was frustrated by not being able to find pictures of Bruce, Jr. and Robin Miller. You bring up a good point, though. The pictures could have all been removed as part of Bruce’s joining the witness protection program.

          I love what you did with the Topix thing. I am so painfully shy that I’d never do that. LOL It is so cool that you did. You rock!

          As for me writing a True Crime book about the Johnston Gang…I don’t know. I have never written more than a 1000 word blog post about True Crime. I wouldn’t have any idea how to go about putting something like that together. Also, there would be the issue of traveling to the area to interview people who remember. I’m not dismissing the idea; I am just thinking out loud. :D

          Thanks for sharing the Zane Campbell article with me.

          (I’m having fun talking about this. I hope you are, too. LOL)

          • Absolutely, this is one of the most interesting topics I have ever gotten into. I’m seriously considering traveling to the Christiana, PA area (with my two sons for any needed protection…haha) and trying to find Bruce Jr. and hopefully talk with him. I’m a little weary of it though because someone on topix told me that he was a bad heroin addict and that had a lot to do with his petty theft charges of late. Looks like he just couldn’t get out of that kind of lifestyle. Like Walken (Bruce Sr.) tells Bruce Jr. in the movie “stealing is all you know”. Zane Campbell said they were all wake n bake potheads as well as users of other drugs and alcohol. They at least once robbed a pharmacy and I think that relates to the pills that Walken always seems to have ready for any situation.
            Not to get off topic Catie but I have also been studying the Buford Pusser “Walking Tall”
            Legend from the 70′s and there is a lot of evidence and a new book coming out about Pusser claiming, and in my opinion proving, he actually killed his own wife (they were separated at the time due to his infidelity and she was threatening to go to the feds over his drug abuse, murder, drinking and taking payoffs from moonshiners) in the alleged ambush as well as murdered a couple other people while he was sheriff. Pusser never once carried a big stick and would only fight a man if he was handcuffed first. I don’t know if you grew up in the 70′s like me but I think I will always have an image of that first “Walking Tall” movie poster etched into my mind. Is the Buford Pusser Legend something you would consider writing about on your blog someday Catie?

          • I absolutely understand. I got completely immersed in the 1981 Wonderland Murders after seeing the movie with Val Kilmer and Dylan McDermott. I have read and read and read about that case. I never get tired of it, but I have reached the point where I’ve seen most of what there is to see.

            The Johnston case is has some great elements. As another author mentioned here, there’s enough folly for your fiction to write five or six books. There’s just so much story here. You could take it from a lot of different angles.

            As for Bruce, Jr. and his staying in “the life.” From what I have seen, it is hard to get out of that lifestyle once you’ve been in it. Events that would be hair-raising to me are normal activity for someone in the criminal lifestyle. I am sure the straight and narrow is not very exciting to someone like this, and it probably seems pretty confining.

            Buford Pusser: I will look into doing a post on Buford Pusser. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the movies since I was a little girl in 1970s. I would have to a lot of studying, reading, and watching. I would be pretty much learning the case from zero. Tell you what: I’ll do a little preliminary reading. If I fall in love, I’ll do a blog post. If I don’t fall in love with the case, I won’t. How’s that?

          • Good deal and I find the Wonderland murders very interesting too. I actually have a link that shows the pics of the bloody mess of those killings as well as a lot of other famous murders. Ronald Defeo and the Amityville murders would be another good topic to post about if you haven’t already. Here is also a great link to a yahoo group page created by former law enforcement officers and investigators to search for the truth about Buford Pusser. It has autopsy photos proving that Pusser killed a woman by the name of Louise Hathcock as well as pictures of Pusser’s gunshot wound to the face. There are also pics of his car that was involved in the ambush. There are pics of what the old Shamrock Hotel and other bars owned by the state line mob in the movie look like today. There is also audio interviews with people from that era telling what they thought of Pusser. The annual Pusser Fair is coming up the end of next month. The state of Tenn recently bought his home and made a museum out of it. The state of Tenn also named a highway after him…the same hwy he died on when he wrecked his new corvette from the movie proceeds while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Pusser was a 6-6 250 lb sheriff that liked to take speed by the handful while drinking hard liquor. I also find it very compelling that Hollywood is able to brainwash us about a made up “Legend” to that degree. I recommend you look at the Buford Pusser Crime Myths page and maybe watch the first movie, Walking Tall” (1973) with Joe Don Baker, if you get the opportunity. That movie was very edgy for 1973. The Crime Myths yahoo page is what gave me the idea for the Johnston Gang page. It could be a good way to talk to those who knew the Johnston’s while developing files of pics and other info to hopefully eventually write a book someday. A good book about the Johnston’s has great potential.

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crimemyths/?tab=s

            http://vanessawest.tripod.com/crimescenephotos.html

          • Thanks for all the info, Hillis. I’m going to check it out. I also look forward to interacting with you on the Johnston Gang yahoo loop.

  6. Some locations from the movie still exist. Here is The Post House Restaurant where Walken lays his pistol on the table while having a meal with his boys.

    http://maps.google.com/maps/place?pq=old+post+house+restaurant+pa&hl=en&sugexp=pfwe&tok=3on6z_uUPVtWN8i6VoJcow&cp=37&gs_id=y3&xhr=t&client=firefox-a&hs=jm1&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&gs_upl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1143&bih=714&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=old+post+house+restaurant+nottingham+pa&fb=1&gl=us&hq=old+post+house+restaurant&hnear=0x89c7b4f490602aa3:0x6e5fab15506deac9,Nottingham,+West+Nottingham,+PA&cid=13834874543456291443

    • Sorry, you have to copy and paste the whole link. The Post House Restaurant is located in Nottingham, PA. I have been told by local residents that the only thing that has changed is the wall paper. I also have two teenage sons that love the movie “At Close Range” too and one day we plan on having breakfast or lunch there and actually reenacting the scene somewhat with me pulling a 9mm out of my back pocket laying it on the table and telling my boys that “someday you know what? I’m gonna give you guys a present”…haha…have to wait until the waitress or no one else is watching…haha.

      • Hey, no problem. I will mess with it later this weekend and get it to work. (I hope)

        As for the re-enactment…be careful. You don’t want to go the pokey for brandishing your weapon. LOL

  7. Here is a video of the actual ambush site in which Robin Miller and Bruce Jr. were attacked by members of the Johnston Gang..

    • I’m glad you enjoy them Natalie. Of all the work I do on my blogs, Friday true crime or paranormal is what I love the most. :D

    • No doubt! The first time I saw this movie, I actually cried because I felt so sorry for the Sean Penn character.

  8. Crazy cool coming across this post today, Catie. I’ve lived in Chester County since 1995 and well recall Norman Johnson’s prison escape in 1999, when for several weeks he was the daily talk at the local Wawa, front page material for the Daily Local News, and the town library couldn’t keep “At Close Range” on the shelf longer than the amount of time it took for someone to return it, and the next person to grab it up and check it out! Needless to say, I was very enthusiastically filled-in on the doings of the Johnston Gang by locals who well recall their criminal spree–many of whom were local boys who used to “hang” with members of the Johnston gang.

    It’s such a strange, sad, and certainly fascinating story, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch for me to take a few ingredients from Norman’s brief escape and work it into a story line for my latest novel, due out later this summer.

    Well done, Catie :-)

    • How cool that you worked this story into your novel. I use the material for my Friday blog posts (which are true crime and paranormal) for story ideas. Do you have a newsletter or notifications where I can be reminded when your book comes out? I read a wide variety of genres and am definitely interested.

      I love your story about interacting with people who actually remember the Johnstons. Not being native to the area you could be as nosy as you wanted, I’m sure people were thrilled to gossip with you. :D

      Thanks for stopping by. I’m having fun seeing new faces today.

  9. “Murder In Texas” was a 1981 movie about the death of Joan Robinson Hill and the subsequent murder of her husband Dr. John Hill by her father Ash Robinson. Besides capturing a great story, it featured an all-star cast including Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott, Farrah Fawcett, Andy Griffith, G.W. Bailey and Barry Corbin. The actual deaths would make a good subject for you, Catie, along with the story of the murder of Price Daniel Jr, made into the movie “Bed of Lies.” Interestingly, Racehorse Haynes entered into both of these cases as the attorney for the defense.

    • David, I have spent half the afternoon trying to figure out where I could watch Murder in Texas. It apparently never hit DVD, so services like Netflix and Blockbuster don’t carry it. I no longer own a VCR, so ordering the tape is not going to do me any good. If you ever see that it’s coming on TV, please shoot me an email (hopefully giving me enough time to DVR it). I love Katharine Ross and Sam Elliott. And I thought Farrah was fantastic. I’d love to watch this.

  10. on ,
    Emma said:

    The title sounded familiar but I’ve never seen it. Interesting story.

  11. Oh yeah, but dishing some delicious bit of truth into our fiction makes for some wonderful twists!

    Having Norman Johnston back on the scene added a intriguing touch of excitement to this quiet little community, and the funniest thing for me was bumping into conversations of genuine concern over Norman’s welfare. I remember being at a yardsale and hearing two older ladies discussing the picture of Norman that had been printed in the local newspaper the day before. They were quite worried over how “bad” he was looking and whether he was getting enough to eat. Some people were surely concerned over having a killer on the loose, but plenty also recalled good ol’ boy camaraderie with him back-in-the-day. I can’t help but think there were some who were very disappointed that his run for freedom was so short-lived. Truly that summer remains very BIG in my memory. It still stands out as an entire summer long odyssey, rather than a couple of brief weeks.

    Thanks for your interest in my summer release, “Asleep Without Dreaming,” starring Norman :-). I write Literary Fiction and I send out my book news via by blog: http://www.barbaraforteabate.wordpress.com & website: http://www.barbaraforteabate.com.

    Great meeting you, Catie– over here in the wonderful world of Wana’s :-D

    • I loved your story about when Norman Johnston was at large. It is so interesting when we can separate our perspective of something from what actually happened.

      I have followed your blog and will be looking forward to reading more of what you have to say. Nice meeting you, too. :D

  12. on ,
    Debra Eve said:

    I do remember this film (and those crazy years Madonna was married to Sean Penn), but didn’t know it was based on a true story. Nasty, nasty, nasty. Though it sounds like Christopher Walken was perfectly cast again. Thanks for the intriguing backstory, Catie!

    • When you mentioned the crazy years that Sean and Madonna were married, it made me remember Sean’s arrest for attacking paparazzi (or something along those lines). I heard that Sean was placed into a cell right next to the serial killer Richard Ramirez who had just been arrested for his crimes.

      I agree with you that this was a great role for Christopher Walken. He is such an offbeat actor. I really enjoy his work.

      Thanks for stopping by. :D

  13. on ,
    Karen McFarland said:

    You know I forgot that Sean Penn and Madonna were married. LOL! Too much life has happened since then. I didn’t see the film. I can’t imagine how guesome it was. I tend to be too sensitive to watch that stuff. Debra Eve’s right. Nasty!

    • I’m sure Sean and Madonna have forgotten they were married by now. LOL I remember the video from “Live to Tell,” which showed location scenes from the movie with Madonna walking around and singing.

      Thanks for stopping by. :D

  14. on ,
    hillis said:

    Here’s a video taken of Cossart Rd. otherwise known as “Devils Rd.” the place where several of the members of the “Kiddie Gang” were killed and buried in a common grave.

    • Cool! Thanks for sharing this. There is also a way to put links for videos on the yahoo group page. That way you can keep them stored there. The worst thing about yahoo videos is they sometimes get removed.

  15. on ,
    Jacque said:

    are there any pics of Robin Miler or Bruce Johnston jr anywhere to be seen?

    • None that I know of. An article that ran Feburary 25, 1980 in People magazine is supposed to have pictures of Bruce, Jr. and Robin; however, the pictures are not on the web version of the article. I suspect I’d have to get ahold of a physical print copy of the magazine to see the pictures. Sorry not to be of more help.

  16. on ,
    Wendy Bailey said:

    I think it’s funny that you talk about us like we are just a story. We are very real and have more than 5 or 10 years left. I have recently corresponded with Dave and Little Bruce. Mr. Mowday does not respond to your email for a reason. The same reason he does respond to mine. You can call Dave Richter any time, he’s in the book! I was born into this story. My father was in the gang. My mother was friends with them. They were good to us. When my father was in prison, they did diaper my behind and make sure we had food. They brought medicine when I was sick. Little Bruce had children of his own. The infamy is passed down through the generations. I have to live with this, it is not something you can change. Call me what you want. Threaten me all you want. It is what it is. You are very mistaken if you think we live the priviledged lives you do. It’s more like the movie, “Groundhog Day”!
    when I was sick. Little Bruce had children of his own. He told me his life was

    • Wendy–I am not going to threaten you or call you names. That is not who I am at all. All visitors to my blog are treated with courtesy and respect. I try my dead level best to present true crime cases with respect. The people I write about are real. As you point out, many of them are still alive. They have feelings.

      Something I’ve learned in life is that everybody has a little good in them. Nobody is a monster–that is for the comic books. No matter who you’re talking about, that was someone’s brother, someone’s son, someone’s father. Someone loved that person.

      It is obvious that this discussion has offended you. I am sorry you are offended. Though I try to present true crime cases in the least offensive way possible, sometimes I fail. Please accept my apology.

      One last thing, if you are ever interested in talking with some people who are *really* into the history of the Johnston Gang, please visit The Bruce Johnston Gang Yahoo Loop. Click the link below:

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BruceJohnstonGang/

      The guy who runs it is named Hillis Colwell. He’s a really nice and interesting guy.

      • on ,
        Wendy Bailey said:

        I am not at all offended. I understand freedom of speech. It’s difficult, but you learn to live with it. I appreciate a forum where people respect each other’s rights. It actually helps to talk about it.

        • You are welcome here anytime. Because this post is a couple of months old, conversation has sort of died down. However, I’m happy to listen to anything you have to say. My self-assigned job here is just to write stuff that interests people. ;)

  17. Wendy,
    I just saw this and I would love to talk to you and I would also love to speak with Dave Richter. I think Mowday’s book was one sided…the side of law enforcement and we all know how twisted that can be. A friend of mine and I would love to be able to do a video documentary and even possibly a new book that will tell the Johnston Gang’s side of the story. Wendy, Catie ( and I hope it’s okay for me to speak for her in this regard) and I did not mean anything negative towards you or your family. Catie is a very nice, professional lady that like I just has a great interest in the story. The comment about the 5-10 year window of opportunity was in regards to some of the older members of the gang like Ansell Hamm (that is in his 70′s now) that we would love to speak with and hear their side of the story. Some of us believe that David and Norman may have been wrongly convicted of murder. Please join our yahoo group page about the Johnston Gang Wendy because we just want to know the Johnston Gang’s side of the story. Thanks for the comments Wendy and I hope to hear more from you.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BruceJohnstonGang/

    • on ,
      Wendy Bailey said:

      I did join your group, I am having difficulty emailing you. I only have internet access on my android. I understand your passion, I suffer as well. I have so much information. It is very hard to be the snitches kid. I am an only child and I am 42. My mom and Ancel were good friends, she still thinks of him. She also lived with Bill Porter, James was his cell mate, he encouraged Bill to look after my mother and me while he remained in prison, my mother ended up having to marry James at the prison so he could be parolled. My mother left Bedford,PA when I was 18 months old. She coudln’t take living with Granny Griffin anymore. Granny passed away here in DE. I doubt Dave or Little Bruce will speak to you. They don’t usually do that. I haven’t tried to contact Ancel. I have to be careful about talking about my father, I was threatened with Slander charges. He thinks he is some kind of hero since the book came out. He was a cocaine dealer in Witness Protection. I can call him, however we are going through something right now. That’s all I can say about that, I need to keep my element of suprise with him. He still has my Lynch too.

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